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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that one of the strongest influences on contemporary Chinese prose poetry is Bing Xin’s 1955 translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry collection Gitanjali. By declining to reproduce the music of Tagore’s Bengali original, and suppressing the Biblical diction of his English version, Bing Xin created a version of his odes to the “religion of man” that implicitly opposes his insistence on poetry’s untranslatability. Instead, she argues that rejecting culturally specific prosodies allows her to faithfully reproduce the content of Tagore’s poetry. This paradigm exalts prose as a transparent, modern, and realist way to write; when it is used to render the subjective, passionate occasions of Gitanjali, the result is a mode of writing that treats transcendental feelings as concretely as it does the objects of daily life. The chapter ends with a call to study generic origins outside the bounds of the genres in question.

Keywords: prose poetry, Bing Xin, Tagore, genre, translation

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